Holmes Defense Tries to Block 'Wrenching' Testimony

Lawyer doesn't want jury to hear about grief of young victim's mother
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 18, 2015 3:36 AM CDT
Mom's Testimony 'Too Emotional' for Holmes Trial
Colorado theater shooter James Holmes, pictured at top second from left in light-colored shirt and glasses, looks on as his former psychiatrist testifies earlier this week.   (Colorado Judicial Department via AP, Pool)

Defense attorneys for Colorado theater shooter James Holmes want to severely limit the testimony of a woman who was paralyzed, suffered a miscarriage, and whose 6-year-old daughter died in the attack. They say significant parts of Ashley Moser's testimony will unfairly bias jurors because they are too heart-wrenching and emotional. "The death of a child strikes a particular cord for a lot of jurors," defense attorney Tamara Brady said yesterday, listing more than 15 objections to Moser's testimony, which is expected tomorrow as prosecutors rest their case. Brady asked the judge to keep Moser from discussing many of the most dramatic parts of her experience, including:

  • Her excitement about her new baby and how she kept her daughter, Veronica Moser-Sullivan, from sitting on her lap at the theater because she was pregnant.

  • That she inquired about her daughter while at the hospital and later learned she had died. Doctors told her she had also lost her unborn child.
  • Her 16-month stay at a rehabilitation center and how she he had to relearn many skills, such as using a spoon, coughing to clear fluid from her lungs, sitting to keep her bones strong, and how to make a sandwich.
Brady also asked the judge to keep prosecutors from showing Moser a photo of Veronica. They have shown other survivors photos of their loved ones while they are on the stand. "The point of that is so Ashley will start crying, as would any mother," Brady said. "Everyone in this courtroom will be heartbroken... That's the point of showing the picture." But the intimate details of Moser's testimony are necessary to show the impact of the crime, District Attorney George Brauchler told the judge. "It's a reality of the situation that was created by the defendant," he said. (Holmes told a psychiatrist that he called a crisis line seconds before the shooting.)

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